Hilton Kelley, a tireless environmental educator, advocate for human-rights justice and role model has dedicated a great part of his activism to tackling the oil giants such as Shell and its defenders at Port Arthur, Texas, his home town and current residence.
Port Arthur, Texas has been the site of frequent Civil Rights and Environmental Justice complaints regarding refinery and chemical plant pollution and regulatory failures by the state and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Mr. Hilton could not stand by and see the destruction that refineries were bringing to the health and livelihoods of his local community.
Global Community Monitor (GCM) is very proud that Hilton Kelley’s work has gone hand-in-hand with that of our organization.
In 2000, Hilton attended training on bucket brigade air monitoring given by Denny Larson, Executive Director of Global Community Monitor. Here he learned that he did not have to rely on the state of Texas, or refinery air monitors that kept showing that the air in his foul smelling community was “clean”.
Three years later, with GCM’s assistance with training, funding and on-going support, Hilton received non-profit status for his own organization, Community In Power and Development Association (CIDA). As the founder of CIDA, Mr. Kelley also currently serves as Secretary and Director of GCM.
In 2006, CIDA and GCM blocked Motiva’s (Shell subsidiary) permit from the state of Texas to expand their existing Port Arthur refinery. This would have more than doubled its current production, making it the largest refinery in the nation. CIDA and GCM won major pollution reductions, a multi-million dollar community development foundation, and community safety measures. GCM has made this model available and has worked with communities near dozens of similar refinery expansions.
Because of his commitment and perseverance, Hilton has been presented with several awards such as the Texas Sierra Club’s Environmental Justice Award in 2002, Woodmen of The World Life Insurance Society “Conservation Award” in 2005, “Houston Hero” Award by Citizen League for Environmental Action Now (CLEAN) in 2006, Damu Smith Environmental Achievement Award in 2008, the Houston-Galveston Environmental Research and Outreach (HERO) Award in 2009, among others.
In 2008 the City of Port Arthur declared July 1 “Hilton Kelley Day” in honor of his outstanding environmental efforts.
Hilton has taken his local fight of Port Arthur to other communities around the United States, and around the world. Hilton Kelley has moved his local struggle beyond protest, toward informed advocacy and collaborative engagement in a regional dialogue on environmental health. He is regularly invited as a keynote speaker and guest speaker at national and international conferences which main goals are to educate politicians, policymakers and the public in general on the social and environmental impacts of the oil industry to the quality of life of local communities.